I move amendment No. 1:
In page 7, between lines 30 and 31, to insert the following:
"(9) No place of detention shall henceforth be titled St. Patrick's".
I welcome the Minister of State. While I am aware that he said he was here for the day, I hope I am not the cause of delaying him unnecessarily. This amendment is about the closure of St. Patrick's Institution which, of course, was warmly welcomed after criticisms of the institution dating back to Fr. Flanagan in the 1940s.
More recently, we have heard criticisms from Judge Michael Reilly, Ms Emily Logan and the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon. I commend the Minister for abolishing such an institution and not having anything more in this country based on the borstal.
The amendment provides that no place of detention should henceforth be called or titled "St. Patrick's". The Department is doing away with this model and I fully support it in abolishing it. It has taken so long. The institution was based in Clonmel in 1946. Then in the 1950s it was moved to a prison in Mountjoy. Now, it is finally being shut down with universal support.
The name "St. Patrick" was invoked sometime in the 1950s. It had been called a borstal before it moved back to Clonmel after the Second World War. The Army had been in the building up to that point. Invoking St. Patrick was an attempt to disguise what actually happened in these institutions. All the critics, dating back to Fr. Flanagan, have described the beating of children, the deprival of clothing and visits and all sorts of abuse. It was given some kind of respectability by invoking the national saint and that was particularly inappropriate. St. Patrick was kidnapped in another jurisdiction at 16 years of age. He was held as a slave in this country for six years and forced to work without reward. Then he escaped. There is some dreadful irony in using that title to lend respectability to an institution which we are now abolishing. I hope it never features again in the name of any institution of detention.
It is an unfortunate title, to put it mildly, given what happened to the gentleman concerned. There is nothing to be said in favour of what happened there, given all the criticisms during all the years. I have in mind the statements from the Ombudsman for Children and Judge Michael Reilly, as well as earlier criticisms. Lest there be any possibility that the national saint could ever be invoked in this way, let us end the use of the name in a place of detention. I have no wish to delay the Minister of State further. That is the purpose of the amendment.